New Jersey residents are mourning the loss of their longtime senator Frank Lautenberg, who has died at the age of 89.
While it may seem crass to weigh the immediate political impact of his passing, the speculation has already begun about who Republican governor Chris Christie will select to serve out the rest of his term and what this event will mean for the likely candidacy of Newark mayor Cory Booker.
Booker sparked rumors of a planned 2014 run last winter and eventually filed papers to formally enter the campaign this January. This move provoked a harsh public rebuke from both the sitting senator’s office and the veteran lawmaker himself.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lautenberg compared Booker to a disobedient child.
“I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell (you) that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK,” Lautenberg said.
Other supporters of Lautenberg chimed in calling the timing of Booker’s announcements “disrespectful” and “self-absorbed.”
“It’s shameful that he avoided challenging a Republican just so that he can take on a long-serving, loyal Democrat,” an unidentified Lautenberg aide told Politico.